Social media has certainly proven beneficial over the last two decades.
Once a communication experiment that later evolved into platforms figuring out just how much personal data people would make available to their “digital networks,” social media remains a huge part of Americans’ everyday lives.
For businesses, social media has created a way to send a brand’s messaging to the right people at the right time and hope your brand sticks out to them enough to be interested, let alone loyal throughout their lives.
Here are the top nine reasons why it’s imperative for businesses to be on social media, and how it can help ensure your brand’s success.
1. Faster, Easier Communication
Customers can contact a customer service representative faster and easier now than ever before thanks to social media.
Businesses can also receive, review, and respond to customers’ grievances faster and easier than ever before.
Depending on the industry and the grievance, challenges may still remain, but the line of communication that once was somewhat challenging to establish is no longer nearly as difficult to do so.
It’s faster now than ever before to contact the right people — and oftentimes without having to even pick up a phone — and it’s only becoming easier as more people and brands use social media platforms to keep in contact with the people that matter most to their business.
Customers can now communicate real feedback in real time like never before, something businesses have strived to achieve for a long time.
2. Networking & Partnerships
In addition to the simplified lines of communication, there’s the aspect of general availability.
Let’s face it: there is a small part of the world’s population that it would be nearly impossible for most average humans to ever directly communicate with without the right kind of help (publicist, agent, etc.).
Also consider actors and actresses, athletes, and other high-profile people most of us Average Joes would never be able to interact with.
Social media helps connect us easier than ever before.
Building quality relationships becomes a lot easier with the streamlined communication we get from social media, and building relationships with key influencers earns a lot of value for your brand.
Some examples of the added value these connections facilitate are:
- Trust from others’ networks and audience members.
- The acquisition of quality backlinks (that offer SEO boost as well as, hopefully, an increase in referral visitors).
- Potential business opportunities.
3. Boost Organic Visibility
There’s so much potential value to be unlocked through social media, aside from the networking and partnership-produced backlinks.
In addition to the SEO value gained from adding quality backlinks to your brand’s website (by way of social media relationships, as well as the ways social media help accumulate a variety of link types to comprise a healthy backlink profile), social media also sends relevancy signals and other signals to search engines like Google to ensure popular content is easily visible and shareable.
It’s important to understand how social media affects SEO as well.
Google has repeatedly said that social media likes, favorites, shares, backlinks, etc. are not direct ranking signals — but there is a correlation between social media activity/popularity and how/why it is ranked by search engines.
So, even though social media shares don’t serve as actual, full-value backlinks, the people, brands, and webmasters/marketers that may see your brand’s content via social media then may very well link to your brand’s content (since it’s quality content offering real value), and those backlinks would certainly hold real value.
4. Increases traffic on your website
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to share links to your blog and your website. If you want to direct traffic to relevant pages, you can post your content links on your social profiles. People who follow your social media accounts can see these links and visit your site.
This is a huge benefit to your business because it helps you build more brand recognition with your audience. You can help them learn more about your business by reading the relevant page on your site. If you’re looking to grow your business, you can use social media to help you gain new traffic on your website other than people who search online using your brand name, product names, or key terms. It helps you expand your reach and drive more people to your page.
5. Customer Feedback
In the world of business, sales, and profits, regardless of what your industry is and who you are marketing and selling to, the focus has to truly be on the customer.
And success, both digitally and traditionally, is achieved by understanding — and delivering — the best quality customer service possible, and doing everything in your power to ensure your customer and potential customers have the best possible experience with your company.
Of course, the product or service you are selling should also be good, but there are always going to be unhappy customers. How we respond to the customers — regardless of how “good” or “bad” their feedback may be — is imperative to your business’s online success and its longstanding reputation.
Social media helps us maintain that reputation by giving us platforms to directly interact with our customers like we never have before. That also means we are receiving real customer feedback directly from the source, faster than ever before (and usually much more raw, too).
Businesses should be using this amazing opportunity to build their brand as a true, consumer-first operation, eventually building the brand’s reputation into one that can never be mistaken and is relied on for many years by an ever-growing customer base.
6. Learn about your audience
On social media, you can gain insight into customer behavior. You learn what your audience is saying about your business. Many people will use social media to express their thoughts and opinions about businesses.
Using social media listening or social media monitoring is a great way for you to see how your audience perceives your company. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, you’ll learn what your audience likes, dislikes, or wants to see happen with your business, which can help you amplify how social media benefits your business.
7. More Brand Authority
Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty both play a part in making your business more authoritative, but it all comes down to communication. When consumers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to customers and posting original content, it makes you appear more credible. Regularly interacting with customers demonstrates that your business cares about customer satisfaction, and is available to answer any questions that they might have.
Satisfied customers are eager to spread the word about a great product or service and they usually turn to social media to express their opinion. Having customers mention your business on social media will advertise your business, and show new visitors your value and brand authority. Once you obtain a few satisfied customers who are vocal about their positive purchase experience, you can let the advertising be done for you by actual customers who enjoyed your product or service.
8. Track Your Competition
Social media channels also allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of not just other marketing tactics and practices, but also with the tactics used by direct competitors.
And we can learn a lot from our competition.
No one is perfect, and we can all learn something. The ultimate goal is having the customer understand us and depend on us for our authoritative approach within our niche over our competition.
Our competitors are aiming to do the same things as us (establish and protect brand reputation and ultimately sell its products/services), so it’s worth us monitoring and finding out ways our business can do better to educate and entertain users, as well as the things our brand does well, and ways we can get better across the board.
9. User-Generated Content & Crowdsourcing of Ideas
User-generated and crowdsourced content isn’t just free and unique; it can also be awesome.
The larger the audience, the more potential the content has to really impact a brand and its messaging. Brands will receive and be able to (usually) use this sometimes-quality content — videos, images, infographics, memes, etc. — with proper permission, of course.
Social media allows us to ask for this user-generated content, then receive it directly, but there is quite a bit going in between all of that, too.
Most brands will have people post their content with specific hashtags. So, the brand isn’t just receiving the content; the content is actually being posted throughout social networks (being seen by each person’s network individually, as well as the brand and it’s network), and equipped with the required hashtags and other “requirements” (which usually includes following the brand, sharing directly with a certain number of connections, and plenty of others.